In the early 70's my father lost his job. This created #financialinstability and my father took out his frustrations on his family. My mother was left to raise 5 kids alone. We received welfare; Mom worked caring for a wealthy woman to make extra money despite her heart condition. As kids, we worked on farms planting and picking and attended school and church. Lake Ontario and the orchards and farms were our playgrounds. We expected nothing and as #money was tight we were thankful for what we received. A pot of gravy was simmering on the stove every Sunday, life was hard, but good because we had each other.
Mom passed away suddenly in 1977 and while trying to give her mouth to mouth I remember thinking; this can't be happening. By this time, my oldest brother was married and living in California, and my oldest sister was also married and living in Niagara Falls. So, the discussions began, what to do with the three youngest?
My middle sister who was disabled was sent to live in a group home near my brother. My closest sister (14) and I (12) were sent to live with an aunt in Rockland NY. Eventually, my sister would go to live with my father. I was thrown out of my aunt's house when I defied her by going to work. At 15, I believed I needed to work to pay for college. With everything I owned laying on the front lawn (this was her usual practice with her foster children), I swore that I would never be thrown out like garbage again. I would never return or speak with my aunt again.
I was fortunate to live with friends, sleeping on couches or in the basement, in a booth at a family restaurant I worked at, or in my car. Eventually, my sister and I convinced our father to sign a lease on a 1-bedroom where we lived and covered our expenses. We worked hard, often holding down several jobs. #Money was always an issue often wasted on wants to leave little room for needs. Some times were dire, but somehow, we pushed through and learned to make smarter choices.
The way in which I was raised, the time spent homeless, the fear, insecurity, and financial instability have affected my life. Though today I consider myself financially #responsible, with a good family and great children the impact of the financial instability early in life is still there. #Skills learned through trial and error, and through work at the foundation have helped me change my mindset. They are important skills for youth from all walks of life, and lifesaving to those who have not had the great opportunities that I have had to learn and recover from mistakes.
This is why it is so important for us to help young men and women and at-risk families develop the skills needed to succeed. Financial success builds security, promotes responsible #behaviors and a healthy #mindset, and helps build the foundations needed to become #successful in life!
Please share your story and why #PersonalFinance is important to you?